When you establish a trust, you’re creating a safeguard for your beneficiaries. The funds and assets kept in the trust cannot be distributed until certain conditions are met and must be distributed according to the terms you specify when you establish the trust. To administer the benefits and distribute the assets, a trustee will be appointed, and that trustee has a fiduciary duty to follow through on the terms of the trust in the way you specify.
As any Valencia trust litigation attorney can attest, fiduciary duties aren’t always upheld. Let’s take a closer look at what a fiduciary duty is and what you can do if that duty is breached.
What Is a Fiduciary Duty?
A fiduciary duty refers to the obligation that a trustee or appointed individual has when they are appointed to a position of administering a trust, estate, or other account. This individual must put forth a good faith effort to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries or accountholders. Every action they take or change they make must be for the betterment of those individuals and not themselves.
This duty is demanding and requires that the individual put their own interests aside anytime that their actions could impact the performance of the account or negatively impact the beneficiaries and accountholders in any way.
What Causes a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
Though many fiduciaries follow through on their duties and uphold fulfill their obligations perfectly, others don’t. When that duty is violated, it’s considered a breach of fiduciary duty, and there are serious consequences for the fiduciary involved. So, what causes a breach of fiduciary duty?
A breach often happens when the fiduciary engages in activities that represent a conflict of interest for the beneficiaries of the trust or account they’re overseeing. However, that’s not the only way the fiduciary can breach their duty. Here are a few other common ways the obligation can be violated:
- Committing fraud
- Putting their benefit over the benefit of the beneficiaries
- Failing to disclose important administrative facts to beneficiaries
- Complete mismanagement of funds
If you believe your fiduciary has committed even one of these breaches, you’ll want to take action as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to preserve the integrity of the trust.
What You Can Do
If you suspect a breach of fiduciary duty, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced trust litigation attorney as soon as you feel a breach has been committed. Document everything you can and keep track of any communications, statements, or information you receive from the fiduciary, and present them to your attorney when you meet. This will help them better understand the situation and help you find an appropriate resolution.
Work With an Experienced Trust Litigation Attorney
If you believe there’s been a breach of fiduciary duty for a trust that you’re a beneficiary of or you’re concerned about the actions your fiduciary has taken recently, get help as soon as possible. Contact the team at Jackman Law and schedule a free consultation today.